Personalities Option A: Hatshepsut

Personalities Option A: Hatshepsut

Personalities In Their Time: Option A- Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut is perhaps the most well-known Queen in Egyptian history. She ruled Egypt for nearly two decades during the beginning of the New Kingdom (18th Dynasty c.1473-1458 BCE) and her reign is viewed as being one that was both prosperous and peaceful. Hatshepsut was the only child of Thutmosis I and Ahmose. Her ascension to the throne began when she was appointed as regent for her nephew-stepson Thutmose III upon the death of her husband Thutmose II. In this position she wielded considerable power and influence until she eventually rose to the role of Pharaoh and eOsirian Statues of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahrixercised the full powers of Egyptian kingship as senior co-ruler.

In accordance with Egyptian ideological tradition, Hatshepsut represented herself as a male king and adopted the established ideology, iconography and social conventions of Egyptian kinship which functioned to bolster the legitimacy of her reign. Hatshepsut was fully accepted by the Egyptian populace as Pharaoh and her reign was relatively peaceful. It saw trade renewed with Asia, Punt and the Aegean Islands. Furthermore, her rule instigated a period of artistic creativity, monumental public building projects and the restoration of monuments that were destroyed during the political instability of the Second Intermediate Period. The most well-known monument constructed during Hatshepsut’s reign is her impressive mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri constructed near the Valley of the Kings near the modern-day city of Luxor.

Despite Hatshepsut’s reign bringing a period of political and social stability and economic progress, approximately twenty years after her death, all monuments and historical accounts which bore her name and image were destroyed. As a result, Hatshepsut was completely lost from Egyptian history until the mid-nineteenth century when she was rediscovered by archaeologists. To this day scholars debate the historical significance of Hatshepsut’s reign and the reason for her erasure from Egyptian history.

Image: Osirian statues of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri
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